Tantra/India Buddhism and Japan

弁財天   Benzaiten
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Sarasvati サラスヴァティ

As a Tantrika living in Tokyo, I practice weaving and looming spiritual teachings and experiences from Hinduism, Tantra, Buddhism and Shintoism.  Tantra is not a religion like the others listed but uses the god/goddesses of Hinduism primarily as references.  Japanese Buddhism came from Indian Buddhas and their early influence on the country.  This documentary shows just how much Indian influence there is in all the spirtual aspects of Japanese culture.  When I compare the Japanese Buddhist monk chants to the Kirtan chants that I have learned I am amazed at how the concept is the same, but the primary Kirtan premise that I learned was that “There was no wrong way to chant and there was no way to chant god/goddesses name badly” thus opening up the practice of divine channeling to all who wished to try it without being self conscious of singing voice or correct or incorrect lyrics.  It is hard for me to understand how the aspired perfection of everything which is one of the principles of Japanese Zen, came about considering the most well known Enso circle is that about being perfect in that very moment and is one of the most representative symbols of Japanese Zen, whereas Tantra is about “You are Perfect, everything is perfect, as it is…(it is laid out for you to learn your next step) because certainly Japanese work culture, I can attest to still upholds this idea of suffering and perfection which is counter to Enso and Tantra.  Benzaiten is the only female goddess of the 7 Lucky Japanese God/Goddesses .  Japanese worship is dominated by male bodied Gods, with Kannon sama  and Benzaiten being some of the only Goddesses known, aside from the original sun Goddess Amaterasu who created Japan.

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